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Why Can’t Narcissists Admit They Are Wrong? (And Never Apologize)

Narcissists are like others; they often tend to be wrong about things. However, don’t hold your breath for an apology.

Narcissistic personality disorder characterizes individuals with an excessively inflated sense of significance, constituting a mental health condition. They incessantly crave and actively pursue excessive attention, desiring admiration from others. 

Those affected by this disorder often struggle to comprehend or demonstrate empathy toward the emotions of others. However, uncertainty lies beneath their facade of confidence, rendering them vulnerable to even the slightest form of criticism.

In this article, we delve into why narcissists can never admit they are wrong and why they don’t apologize.

Why Can’t Narcissists Admit They Are Wrong?

This is because they lack accountability for their actions. Individuals with narcissistic personality disorder do not like to accept that they are wrong; they will go to great lengths to avoid blame for their actions, sometimes even shifting the blame onto someone else.

The inner critic of a narcissist is on overdrive. Despite their outward confidence, they are overly self-critical; they cannot handle accepting their negative actions because it will only intensify their self-criticism.

If unable to shift blame, narcissists feel vulnerable, leading to narcissistic rage. This manifests as aggressive or passive-aggressive behaviors aimed at shutting down communication and restoring internal stability. If you are the victim of narcissistic rage, please seek support from a professional to avoid any unnecessary emotional or physical damage.

Narcissists use various manipulative techniques to avoid damaging their fragile self-esteem and escape the consequences of their actions. Narcissists may use gaslighting, distorting reality to shift blame onto others. This manipulative tactic leaves partners doubting their reality and facilitates blame-shifting.

Blame-shifting allows narcissists to evade accountability and hinders personal growth. Their unstable self-image and lack of empathy prevent them from recognizing the impact of their actions on others. If you have a narcissist in your life, you may have noticed they constantly try to escape the blame for their actions by finding a way to blame you.

Since the narcissist is incapable of admitting they are wrong, they are also incapable of apologizing. This makes sense because, for the narcissist, they have done nothing wrong and have nothing to apologize for. Let’s explore the underlying reasons a narcissist can’t apologize.

Why Can’t Narcissists Apologize?

Narcissists can’t apologize because of their underlying psychological traits. Apologizing for your behavior takes some degree of accountability, which narcissists do not have. If they do apologize, it will not be sincere. They may use apologies to fulfill their narcissistic desires and needs.

People without narcissistic personality traits can recognize their mistakes, take responsibility, and work towards making amends. Accepting fault and embracing blame brings a sense of relief and satisfaction, allowing them to correct their wrongdoing and restore a sense of integrity within themselves.

However, individuals with narcissistic traits have different experiences. Accepting responsibility doesn’t give them a positive feeling; instead, it causes stress and negative emotions. Consequently, they often choose to project blame onto others. By shifting responsibility, they can swiftly escape the negative feelings they are experiencing and find temporary relief.

Narcissists have difficulty understanding and caring about others’ emotions. Genuine remorse, a crucial component of apologizing, requires recognizing the impact of their actions on others. This empathetic understanding is often challenging for individuals with narcissistic traits.

Apologizing involves acknowledging personal shortcomings and exposing vulnerability. Narcissists find this highly uncomfortable and threatening to their fragile ego. They often go to great lengths to avoid situations where they must lower their defenses and admit their wrongdoings.

Narcissists employ defense mechanisms such as denial, projection, and rationalization to protect their self-image. These mechanisms allow them to shift blame onto others, downplay their faults, or distort reality. Apologizing requires dismantling these defenses, which can be challenging for narcissistic individuals.

Narcissists crave control and power in relationships. Apologizing may be seen as relinquishing control and admitting weakness. They resist apologizing to maintain dominance and avoid appearing submissive or vulnerable.

If a narcissist has wronged you, it may be beneficial to accept that you will not receive an apology for the narcissist’s misdeeds. Individuals with narcissistic personality disorder cannot accept responsibility for their actions and behaviors, making apologies unlikely.

How Do Narcissists Act When They Are Wrong?

They exhibit negative behaviors to make themselves feel better and avoid being held responsible for their actions. Narcissists will use any means necessary to avoid blame or criticism and face the truth of being wrong. Their brain is wired to avoid all negative feedback.

Individuals with a narcissistic personality disorder will deny, manipulate, and avoid so they do not face the consequences of their behaviors. They will defend their position, even when they know they were wrong.

Let’s explore how the narcissist acts when wrong:


When narcissists are confronted with their mistakes, their behavior tends to follow certain patterns. Firstly, they commonly deny any wrongdoing and deflect blame onto others. Rather than admitting their faults, they may project their shortcomings onto those around them, accusing others of the very behaviors they are guilty of.


Gaslighting is another manipulative tactic employed by narcissists, where they distort the truth, manipulate facts, and make the other person doubt their perception of events. Additionally, narcissists often downplay the seriousness of their mistakes and rationalize their actions to justify them. They may use excuses, justifications, or explanations to minimize the impact of their behavior.


Taking responsibility for their actions is something narcissists tend to avoid, as they prefer making excuses, shifting blame, or completely avoiding discussions about their wrongdoings. Furthermore, when confronted, narcissists may respond with anger and aggression.


They become defensive, verbally or physically attacking to intimidate or control the situation. It’s important to remember that not all narcissists will exhibit these behaviors to the same extent, and individual responses may vary depending on their traits, circumstances, and the severity of the situation.

You can protect yourself from a narcissist lashing out by educating yourself, setting boundaries, trusting your instincts, practicing self-care, building a support network, and minimizing contact. Also, you may need to seek the help of a professional if your attempts at protecting yourself have failed.

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Do Narcissists Really Think They Are Perfect?

Yes, they do. Narcissists often hold a belief that they are perfect or superior to others. This exaggerated self-perception is a hallmark of narcissistic personality disorder. However, underneath the surface, the narcissist is much more complicated, with many deep-seated insecurities.

They maintain this belief through defense mechanisms and cognitive biases, selectively focusing on information that supports their idealized self-image while dismissing contradicting evidence. While they project an image of perfection, narcissists rely heavily on external validation to boost their self-esteem and protect themselves from confronting their true vulnerabilities.

They struggle with self-awareness and find it difficult to acknowledge their flaws or take responsibility for their actions. Instead, they may engage in defensive behaviors like blame-shifting or denial to avoid criticism and maintain their perceived superiority.

It’s important to understand that the narcissist’s belief in their perfection is rooted in a distorted self-image. While they may genuinely think they are flawless, their perception does not align with objective reality. It manifests their personality disorder and serves as a defense mechanism to shield themselves from deep-seated insecurities.

Can Narcissists Ever Feel Remorse?

No, remorse is a complex emotion that narcissists can struggle to experience fully. While it is possible for them to feel some degree of remorse, it is typically limited compared to individuals without narcissistic traits. They believe all their behaviors are justified.

A narcissistic personality disorder is characterized by a self-centered focus and a lack of empathy, which can hinder the ability to genuinely understand and internalize the impact of their actions on others. When narcissists do express remorse, it is often shallow and short-lived.

Moreover, narcissists quickly rationalize or minimize their actions. They may deflect blame onto others or external factors, using defence mechanisms like denial or justification to avoid taking full responsibility for their behavior. This pattern of minimizing their actions and avoiding accountability makes it difficult for them to feel remorse.

It’s important to recognize that the capacity for remorse can vary among individuals with narcissistic traits, and some may exhibit greater levels of remorse than others. However, genuine remorse is uncommon in narcissistic individuals due to their self-centered nature and challenges with empathy.

Can Narcissists Ever Feel Guilty?

No, guilt is not a common emotion experienced by narcissists, they feel justified in their behaviors. Narcissistic individuals prioritize their needs and desires above others, making it challenging for them to feel sincere remorse or guilt for the harm they cause.

Narcissists have a strong sense of entitlement and a tendency to justify their actions, deflecting blame onto others. They often have a distorted perception of their behavior, making it difficult to acknowledge their mistakes and take genuine responsibility. Their focus is primarily on maintaining their self-image and preserving their sense of superiority, which can override any feelings of guilt.

When guilt does arise, it is often transient and quickly suppressed. Narcissists may use rationalization or minimizing tactics to diminish their culpability, shifting the blame onto external factors or other people. Their self-centered mindset and lack of empathy prevent them from experiencing profound and lasting guilt.

why-can't-narcissists-apologize? | vimprovement.com

Does A Narcissist Ever Regret Their Actions

No, because in their minds, they are never wrong. Narcissists employ defense mechanisms to shield themselves from acknowledging their flaws and errors. They tend to ignore anything that challenges their inflated self-perception. They have a selective memory which leaves out any wrongdoings.

Unless they have undergone extensive therapy for their narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), they typically lack feelings of guilt, shame, or self-doubt as long as their defensive mechanisms remain intact.

Consequently, they do not believe there is anything to regret, regardless of the hurt experienced by others. In their perspective, if issues arise within the relationship, they attribute the blame solely to the other person, absolving themselves of any responsibility.

Why Do Narcissists Deny Truth?

Narcissists deny truths and contradictions to protect their self-perception, which is crucial for emotional stability. This self-perception is often built on external validation due to an unhealthy or abusive upbringing with emotionally unavailable caregivers.

Narcissists develop deep-rooted negative feelings about themselves without the necessary validation during childhood. To manage these emotions, they rely on external sources of validation and construct a false self-perception based on achievements or admiration.

The inflated self-perception of narcissists includes traits such as being charming, successful, innocent, honest, desirable, goodhearted, charismatic, and virtuous. This self-perception serves as a defense mechanism to suppress their negative emotions.

However, their fragile self-perception crumbles when faced with contradictions, exposing their suppressed negative emotions and endangering their emotional stability. This vulnerability challenges their belief in their flawless self-image.

In summary, narcissists deny truth and contradictions to uphold their self-perception, which relies on external validation. Their upbringing and emotional development contribute to the significance of this self-perception. When their self-perception is contradicted, their emotional stability is at risk as their suppressed negative emotions surface.


In conclusion, narcissists’ inability to admit they are wrong and refuse to apologize stems from psychological factors. Narcissistic personality disorder, characterized by an inflated sense of self-importance, lack of empathy, and fragile self-esteem, contributes to their aversion to accepting responsibility for their actions.

Narcissists lack accountability and employ manipulative tactics, such as blame-shifting and gaslighting, to avoid facing their mistakes. They perceive admitting fault as threatening their self-image and self-worth and fear the vulnerability accompanying genuine apologies. Instead, they rely on defense mechanisms, like denial and rationalization, to protect their ego and maintain relationship control.

It is important for those affected by narcissists to recognize that they are unlikely to receive a sincere apology from them. The narcissist’s belief in their perfection and limited capacity for remorse and guilt makes it challenging to acknowledge their wrongdoing and express genuine regret. They prioritize their own needs and self-preservation above the feelings and well-being of others.

While understanding the underlying reasons behind a narcissist’s inability to admit they are wrong can provide some clarity, it is crucial for individuals dealing with narcissists to prioritize their well-being and seek support from professionals or support networks. Establishing boundaries, practicing self-care, and minimizing contact with narcissists can help protect oneself from manipulative behaviors and emotional harm.

In the end, it is important to remember that the inability of a narcissist to admit they are wrong or apologize reflects their psychological condition and should not be taken personally by those affected. By focusing on self-care, personal growth, and seeking healthy relationships, individuals can navigate their interactions with narcissists and strive for emotional well-being and fulfillment.


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